Afghanistan: The most important questions for Dominic Raab as MP preparing for the hearing of the emergency committee on the Taliban takeover

The Foreign Minister is later asked by MPs how the government intends to deal with the consequences of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.

Parliament is still on summer recess but an emergency meeting of the special committee on foreign affairs will take evidence from Dominic Raab this afternoon.

Here are some of the most important questions to ask him:

What is being done to get the remaining UK nationals and eligible Afghans out of the country?

The Foreign Secretary said the number of British nationals still in Afghanistan was in the range “low hundreds” and admitted that it would be a “challenge” for her to leave.

Mr Raab said it was not possible to provide an exact number of Afghan nationals still in the country who might be eligible for resettlement in the UK.

The Foreign Secretary stressed that the evacuation effort to date has displaced 17,000 British nationals, Afghans who have worked with Britain and other vulnerable people from Afghanistan.

But MPs will likely urge him to give an estimate of how many have been left behind – Labor has suggested that another 7,000 Afghans could be eligible for relocation.

The government has announced that it will work with neighboring countries to ensure that people who are able to flee Afghanistan across land borders can continue to apply for relocation from third countries to the UK.

MEPs will want to know what work, if any, is being done now to make this cross-border travel viable and what has been done so far to ensure it is effective in third countries.

What is the latest security assessment of the Taliban takeover?

The prime minister said any future diplomatic recognition of the new Taliban government would depend on the regime preventing Afghanistan from “become an incubator for global terror“.

But the suicide bombings at the airport in Kabul, US air strikes on alleged ISIS K cells and reports of regrouping of al-Qaeda figures suggest that extremist activity in the country is already a specific challenge to the fight against terrorism.

Questions are likely to be asked how internal tensions within the Taliban itself – between senior leaders previously involved in the Doha talks with the US and more traditional hardliners – could exacerbate the already worrying security picture.

With the Taliban now in possession of significant amounts of military equipment left behind by the Afghan Army and withdrawing US troops, as well as sensitive documents that were not destroyed when the Western embassies abandoned them, MPs get the latest security assessment regarding Want to hear Afghanistan itself and also the impact on the global threat of terrorism.

Yesterday, Mr. Raab refused to rule out the possibility that the RAF would join the US air strikes against terrorist cells in the country.

How does the British government intend to deal with the Taliban?

When it comes to security, humanitarian or human rights issues in Afghanistan, the UK government wants to work with the international community to “moderate” the Taliban.

But apart from the implicit assumption that there must be some form of engagement with the Taliban, there are few details about how this should be done in practice.

Evidence so far suggests that the government hopes to use the prospect of humanitarian aid and diplomatic recognition from the new government to encourage the Taliban to revert to some of their most extreme practices, but there are likely to be questions like sanctions be able to influence.

Will the UK rethink its relationship with the US?

Announcing this emergency committee hearing last week, Chairman Tom Tugendhat stressed that Britain’s diplomatic dependence on the US should be reconsidered in light of the events in Afghanistan.

He described the takeover of the Taliban as “the greatest foreign policy failure since Suez and once again stressed the importance of building networks of allies without having a single partner”.

In January, the Lords Select Committee on International Relations released a report warning that the US withdrawal could likely have dangerous consequences Ministers did not seem to have rated correctly.

The report alleged that the UK government had “shown little inclination to raise an independent voice in Afghan politics” and “instead followed the US example and was too reluctant to raise its distinctive voice”.

Mr Raab is likely to be asked whether the failure to persuade the US to limit or delay its withdrawal from Afghanistan was due to a lack of influence or effort.

Was it a failure of intelligence, planning, or both?

In interviews yesterday, Dominic Raab admitted that military intelligence had failed to predict the speed at which the Taliban could take over the country.

He said “the best central guess was that after the drawdown ended in September you would see slow deterioration and that Kabul would not have fallen for several months”.

But the Foreign Minister is likely to be asked if this is a sufficient explanation for the chaotic nature of the evacuation in recent weeks, which has forced ministers to accept the reality that some people are not getting out.

In July, senior military officials wrote a joint letter in The Times warning of the lack of urgency in the relocation of Afghans who had worked with British forces from the country.

How culpable are Mr. Raab and his department?

The Foreign Office, the Interior Ministry and the Defense Ministry were all heavily involved in the evacuation effort, and information wars have broken out between them about which ministry and ministers are most responsible for the errors that have occurred.

But Dominic Raab has received more personal criticism than any other minister, with Opposition parties are demanding his resignation or his dismissal.

He recognized that “in retrospect” He should have returned earlier from his vacation on the Greek island of Crete on the weekend when Kabul fell to the Taliban, but MPs will no doubt ask him about the consequences of this decision.

He has argued that his decision to ignore the advice of calling the Afghan foreign minister on the Friday before the capital’s case, which he instead delegated to a junior minister, made no difference because the advice to make the call was “quick was overtaken by the events “.

But MPs on the committee will likely want to look into this further, not least because of the broader questions about how many other ministers and senior officials were absent from Whitehall during those critical days.

Sky news

© Sky News 2021

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